Today the new Cabinet Secretary for Transport Michael Matheson announced that an RET equivalent will be introduced on the Aberdeen-Lerwick and Lerwick-Kirkwall ferry routes from tomorrow.
Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) has been in place on Western Isles services since 2008, reducing fares in line with what a similar land journey would cost.
It looks like a typical peak time islander rate return trip to Aberdeen for a family of four travelling with a car and a cabin, will now cost £525 rather than £600.
Commenting, Tavish said:
"This has been a long running saga. Orkney MSP Liam McArthur and I have continually pressed the Government on this issue. Last summer it was announced that RET would be in place on Northern Isles routes by summer 2018. It has now taken the Government to the last day of its own deadline to make today's announcement. The Government must now ensure that islanders who have already booked receive the reduction in fares.
"I welcome the news that an RET equivalent will now go ahead for passengers travelling Aberdeen-Lerwick and Lerwick-Kirkwall. But Shetlanders will see that this 20% cut on passenger and car fares fall well below the former Transport Minister's claim back in August 2017 that average fares would fall by more than 40% and 30% respectively.
"As our calculations show, the cost of getting off the isles alone for a typical family holiday will remain prohibitive for many. The new Cabinet Secretary for Transport must now go further to ensure that essential cabin fares will also be subject to reduced fares given that few passengers will travel without a cabin on the 12-hour journey to Aberdeen."